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M  E  M  O  I  H 






y     '  COMPILED  BY 

LIEUT.   J.'^^'C.    IVES,    TOPOGL.    ENGINEEKS, 





APRIL,     1866. 

W  "^^   ^  -w-A-Pi*  X) E 1= -rft. li T ivE E nsr T . 

M.    B.    WYNKOOP,    BOOK    &    JOB    PRINTER, 

18  5  6. 



Introductory  Remarks. 

Inland  Route  from  Fort  Capron  to  Fort  Jupiter, 
Inland  Routes  from  Fort  Jupiter  to  Fort  Lauderdale. 
Route  from  Fort  Lauderdale  to  Fort  Dallas. 

Routes   from  Fort  Dallas  to   the   Western    Border    of   the 

Routes  through  the  Big  Cypress  Swamp. 

Routes    from    the     Big    Cypress    Swamp     to    the    Caloosa- 
hatchee  River. 

Route  from  Fort  Thompson  to  Fort  Meade. 

Route  from  Fort  Meade  to  Fort  Myers. 

Route  from  Fort  Myers  to  Fort  Jupiter. 



A  CONSIDERABLE  portion  of  the  State  of  Florida,  south 
of  Tampa  Bay,  is  a  comparatively  unknown  region.  Its 
natural  features  oppose  great  obstacles  to  the  prosecution  of 
surveys  and  explorations;  and,  although  many  have  been 
from  time  to  time  accomplished  under  the  direction  of  dif- 
ferent commanding  officers  of  the  troops  stationed  there,  the 
results  have  not  all  been  connected,  nor  embodied  into  an 
available  form.  Sketches  of  the  country  have  been  made, 
undoubtedly  in  all  cases,  by  officers  who  have  accompanied 
the  examinations,  and  these  have  subsequently  been  com- 
piled, and,  where  authority  was  given  for  it,  published. 
The  maps  thus  furnished  have,  however,  been  necessarily 
constructed  upon  a  scale  too  small  to  exhibit  more  than  the 
general  features  of  the  country,  and  the  lines  traversed  have 
been  plotted  from  surveys  made  either  without  instruments 
or  with  those  of  the  roughest  description.  The  written  re- 
ports, which  would  give  more  specific  and  complete  details 
and  supply  information  that  the  surface  of  a  map  could  not, 
have  rarely  been  published,  and  have  existed  only  in  the 
archives  of  the  department.  They  could  not  therefore  be 
made  available  to  officers  in  the  field,  and  would  be,  under 
any  circumstances,  difficult  to  refer  to ;  for,  many  of  them 
relating  to  expeditions  undertaken  for  other  objects  than  the 
exploration  of  the  country,  the  material  collected,  at  different 


times,  in  regard  to  the  topography,  would  be  scattered 
throughout  numerous  and  extended  reports,  embracing  other 
subjects,  and  covering  a  long  interval  of  time.  As  a  large 
portion  of  the  region  is  submerged  during  some  seasons  of 
the  year,  trails  and  other  local  marks  are  soon  obliterated ; 
and,  when  new  troops  have  been  ordered  into  the  country, 
they  have  been  obliged  to  purchase  the  knowledge,  possessed 
by  their  predecessors,  with  a  fresh  expenditure  of  time,  hard- 
ship and  danger.  Extensive  reconnoissances  were  made 
along  the  coast  and  in  the  interior,  during  the  years  1841 
and  1842,  at  which  time  the  south-eastern  and  south-western 
shores,  the  Everglades,  the  Big  Cypress  Swamp,  Lake  Okee- 
chobee, and  the  adjacent  region,  were  traversed  in  various 
directions  by  ofiicers  of  the  army  and  navy,  and  much  ac- 
complished towards  the  topographical  development  of  the 
State.  Many  similar  explorations,  some  of  them  attended 
with  great  difficulties,  have  been  recently  made,  under  the 
direction  of  Cols.  Munroe  and  Brown,  Second  Artillery,  by 
the  ofl&cers  of  their  commands.  JViost  of  these  have  appeared 
to  be  over  an  unexamined  country,  though  a  comparison  of 
the  reports  and  sketches  with  those  that  were  made  in  1842 
shows  that  some  of  the  routes  passed  over  at  the  two  periods 
must  have  been  nearly  identical.  Had  the  parties  last  in  the 
field  possessed,  in  a  form  suitable  for  reference,  all  of  the  in- 
formation gathered  by  those  who  preceded  them,  their  labors 
would  probably  have  been  much  lightened. 

During  the  compilation  of  the  accompanying  map,  a  num- 
ber of  reports,  made  by  the  officers  above  referred  to,  have 
been  obtained  from  the  Adjutant  General's  Department,  and 
it  has  been  thought  desirable,  from  the  considerations 
mentioned,  to  extract  the  topographical  information  con- 
tained in  them,  and  to  present  it  in  a  connected  form.  Such 
material  as  could  be  procured  from  other  reliable  sources  has 
been  appended.  The  short  time  allowed  for  the  work  has 
precluded  anything  like  a  thorough  investigation  as  to  what 
is  now  known  of  the  region  in  question;  those  facts  only 


being  presented  whicli  were  at  hand  or  could  without  delay 
be  collected.  For  convenience  of  reference  and  to  conform 
as  nearly  as  possible  to  the  original  reports,  the  lines  of  com- 
munication referred  to  in  them  have  been  separately  taken 
up,  and  in  connection  with  these  is  mentioned  whatever 
could  be  learned  concerning  the  adjacent  localities.  The 
country  considered  being,  for  the  greater  part,  a  flat  expanse, 
where  the  prairie  of  one  day  may  at  another  be  converted 
into  a  lake,  and  where  the  lakes,  rivers,  swamps  and  ham- 
mocks are  subjected  to  such  changes  as  can  be  produced  by 
an  additional  layer  of  water  of  a  depth  sometimes  as  great 
as  three  feet,  all  statements  relating  to  its  surface  are  liable 
at  times  to  considerable  modifications. 


Fort  Capron  is  situated  on  the  west  bank  of  Indian  River, 
opposite  to  Indian  River  Inlet.  The  site  of  the  post  is  upon 
hard  ground,  a  few  feet  above  the  surf\\ce  of  the  water.  The 
Inlet  is  open.  The  bar  at  its  mouth  can  be  crossed  by 
vessels  whose  draught  is  not  greater  than  four  and  a  half 
feet.  The  location  is  a  healthy  one  at  all  seasons  of  the  year. 
Half  a  mile  back  from  the  Fort  runs  a  small  ridge,  its  general 

♦This  route  was  traversed  and  reported  upon  by  Maj.  Prince,  U.  S.  A.,  in  1P54  and  by 
Lieut.  Hill,  First  Artillery,  in  1855.  The  description  of  it  here  given  is  an  abridgment  of  the  two 
reports;  the  former  of  which  was  obtained  from  the  records  of  the  U.  S.  Coast  Survey,  and 
the  latter  from  the  Adjutant  General's  Department,  U.  S.  A. 


direction  being  nearly  parallel  to  the  line  of  the  coast,  ex- 
tending northward  to  the  head  of  Indian  Eiver,  and  south 
almost  to  St.  Lucie  Point,  at  the  junction  of  St.  Lucie  River 
with  St.  Lucie  Sound.  To  this  place,  about  twenty-three 
miles  below  Fort  Capron,  the  river  is  a  straight  reach  of 
water,  varying  in  width  from  one  to  three  miles,  exposed  to 
the  wind,  and  navigable  for  full  four  feet  draught.  Four 
miles  and  a  half  from  Fort  Capron,  the  ridge  above  referred 
to  comes  to  the  water,  forming  a  bank,  twenty  feet  in  height, 
which  is  the  site  of  Fort  Pierce.  The  growth  on  the  shore, 
between  the  two  forts,  is  pine.  South  of  the  latter  post  the 
ridge  is  covered  with  hammock  growth,  and,  two  miles  below, 
rises  to  the  height  of  forty  feet,  where  is  the  old  Indian 
Garden.  Along  the  ridge,  in  this  vicinity,  are  a  few  dwell- 
ing houses :  the  inhabitants  of  these,  with  the  light  hou?e 
keeper  at  Cape  Canaveral,  are  the  only  settlers  upon  the 
coast,  from  the  canal,  ninety  miles  above  Fort  Capron,  to  the 
Miami  River^  more  than  a  hundred  miles  below. 

Nine  miles  south  of  the  Indian  Garden,  there  is  a  high 
point  of  the  ridge,  which  is  bare  and  dotted  with  patches  of 
white  sand,  ("bleach  yard,")  and,  two  miles  below,  at  Mount 
Elizabeth^  pine  growth  again  appears  upon  the  shore ;  the 
ridge  receding  towards  the  St.  Lucie  River.  Between  Mount 
Elizabeth  and  Fort  Pierce,  it  borders  the  river,  formijag 
a  steep  high  bank,  covered  with  cabbage,  palmetto,  and 
other  hammock  growth.  Along  the  top  is  a  narrow  strip  of 
cultivable  ground,  from  which  there  is  a  rapid  descent,  in- 
land, to  an  open  country,  covered  with  flagponds,  savannas, 
sawgrass,  marshes,  and  palmetto  flats,  with  a  few  scattered 

From  Fort  Capron,  the  beach  on  the  inside  is  remarkably 
serrated,  and  lined  with  high  mangroves  that  shut  out 
the  view  towards  the  ocean. 

The  St.  Lucie  flows  between  banks  formed  of  coquina* 

♦  A  concrete  of  shells. 


rocks  and  rising  about  six  feet  above  the  water's  edge. 
Along  these  is  a  growth  of  palmettos,  and  the  neigbborhood 
is  a  famous  resort  for  turkies  and  the  manatee. 

Upon  leaving  St.  Lucie  point  two  openings  present  them- 
selves. The  one  to  the  left  is  that  which  is  to  be  followed; 
being  the  entrance  to  the  Jwpiter  Narrows.  This  entrance  is 
opposite  to  Gilbert's  Bar,  which  is  now  closed,  as  there  is 
little  more  than  one  foot  of  water  upon  it  at  the  highest  tides. 
Following  the  channel  somewhat  over  a  mile,  it  opens  into  a 
bay  three-quarters  of  a  mile  broad,  and  about  two  miles  in 
length  ;  the  western  shore  of  which  must  be  coasted  till  a 
narrow  opening,  not  exceeding  twenty  feet  in  width,  is  per- 
ceived. This  baj'ou  continues  but  a  short  distance  before  it 
is  joined  by  another,  somewhat  wider,  from  the  right. 

The  Narrows  are  exceedingly  tortuous,  winding  in  large 
bends  through  swamps  grown  up  with,  lofty  mangroves  full 
sixty  feet  in  height,  whose  branches  nearly  meet  from  the 
opposite  sides  of  the  stream.  The  water  is  of  considerable 
depth,  and  the  current  strong,  setting  either  way  with  the 
wind,  the  prevailing  direction  of  which  along  this  portion  of 
the  coast,  for  six  months  of  the  year,  is  south  east.  The 
Narrows  extend  about  six  miles,  terminating  at  Hole  Sound. 
At  this  point  lies  an  extensive  oyster  bed,  that  precludes  the 
passage  of  boats  drawing  more  than  three  feet. 

Hobe  Sound  is  skirted  on  the  west  by  high  hills  covered 
with  oak  scrub,  while  the  beach  that  borders  the  opposite 
side  is  a  thick  hammock  that  extends  four  and  a  half  miles 
to  the  south.  Where  the  hammock  ends,  there  is  a  narrow 
place  in  the  sound,  occasioned  by  a  sharp  point  of  mangroves 
which  puts  out  from  the  west  shore  from  near  the  base  of  a 
hill,  sixty  feet  in  height,  that  rises  rapidly  from  the  water. 
This  place  is  called  Couch's  har,  and  the  greatest  depth  of 
water  upon  it  is  about  three  feet. 

The  Sound  is  sufficiently  exposed  to  the  wind  to  admit  of 
the  use  of  sails,  and  in  most  places  is  easily  navigated  by 
vessels  of  four  feet  draught.     It  extends  for  eight  miles  to 


Jupiter  River^  from  the  mouth  of  which  it  is  about  two  and 
a  half  miles  to  the  site  of  Fort  Jupiter. 

The  total  distance  from  Fort  Capron  to  Fort  Jupiter,  is 
about  forty  miles.  The  Mackinac  boats,  sometimes  employed 
upon  this  route,  are  said  to  be  unsuitable  for  the  transporta- 
tion of  troops  and  supplies  between  the  two  posts;  having  to 
lay  by  during  a  hard  wind,  and  under  the  most  favorable 
circumstances  requiring  four  days  to  accomplish  the  trip. 
The  kind  of  vessel  recommended,  as  likely  to  be  most  ser- 
viceable, is  a  small  sloop,  not  drawing  over  three  feet  when 
loaded,  and  made  after  the  pattern  of  the  old  s  urf  boats, 
used,  during  the  Mexican  war,  at  Vera  Cruz. 


Old  Fort  Jupiter  stands  upon  the  southern  shore  of  Jupiter 
Elver,  about  three  miles  from  the  bar  at  the  mouth  of  the 
Inlet.  It  is  upon  the  western  point,  formed  by  the  junction 
of  Jupiter  River  and  Jones's  Creek^  a  stream  that  rises  three 
or  four  miles  to  the  south.  The  land  in  the  immediate  vi- 
cinity is  grown  up  with  thick  scrub,  and  is  bare  of  timber. 
The  back  country  is  a  high  pine  region,  through  which  the 

*  The  information  here  given  is  taken  from  a. journal  kept  by  Lieut.  Humphreys,  Topogra- 
phical Engineers,  while  passing  over  the  line,  in  company  with  Capt.  Wade's  command,  in 
1H41.  The  description  of  the  localities  in  the  immediate  neighborliood  of  Fort  Jupiter,  is 
from  the  reports,  already  referred  to,  of  Major  Prince,  and  Lieut,  Hill,  First  Artillery. 



old  road  to  Fort  Von  Swearingen  may  still  be  distinctly 
traced.  Half  a  mile  distant  from  the  old  Fort,  upon  the 
eastern  point  made  by  the  creek  and  river,  is  the  new  post, 
now  called  Fort  Jupiter.  Here  the  pine  land  is  still  niore 
elevated,  and  continues  so  for  five  miles  back;  the  timber 
coming  down  to  the  water's  edge,  and  the  water  itself  being 
of  sufficient  depth  for  small  boats,  close  in  to  the  shore. 
Abundance  of  wood,  suitable  for  building  purposes,  can  be 
conveniently  obtained.  The  soil  is  fertile.  There  is  an  ex- 
cellent anchorage,  and  a  good  place  for  loading  and  unload- 
ing boats,  making  the  site  of  the  present  Fort  preferable  to 
that  of  the  old  one,  or  any  other  location  in  the  vicinity. 

Objections  exist  to  it  now  as  a  military  position,  from  the 
fact  that  the  Inlet  is  closed,  and  the  post  rendered  inaccessi- 
ble, from  the  sea,  to  the  smallest  coasting  vessels.     The  clos- 
ing of  the  inlet  causes  the  locality— at  other  times  salubrious 
—to  be  an  unhealthy  one  ;  the  water  on  the  inside  of  the  bar 
then  becoming  fresh,  and  inducing  a  rapid  growth  of  vege- 
table matter,  which,  decaying,  taints  the  atmosphere  and  en- 
genders disease.     The  alternate  opening  and  closing  of  this 
inlet  is  somewhat  remarkable.     Between  the  years  1840  and 
1844,  it  was  closed.     At  the  latter  period,  Capt.  Davis,  the 
mail  carrier  from  Fort  Capron  to  Cape  Florida,  endeavored, 
with  a  party  of  four  men,  to  excavate  a  channel.      After 
digging  for  several  hours,  they  succeeded  by  nightfall   in 
starting  outward  a  stream  of  water  four  inches  in  depth. 
Upon  this  they  desisted  from  labor  and  went  to  their  camp, 
which  was  some  fifty  feet  from  the  ditch.     The  river  inside 
was  unusually  high,  from  a  freshet  in  the  everglades,  and  a 
strong  north  wind  was  blowing.     At  night,  the  sleeping  par- 
ty were  awakened  by  a  flood  of  water,  and  had  to  abandon 
their  camp  equipage  and  run  for  their  lives,  barely  escaping 
being  carried  out  to  sea.     The  next  day  there  was  a  channel 
nearly  a  quarter  of  a  mile  wide,  and  the  rush  of  water  could 
be  traced  far  out  upon  the  ocean. 

The  inlet  stayed  open  till  1847,  when  it  closed  till  1853, 


during  which  year  it  opened  itself,  but  remained  in  that  con- 
dition only  a  short  time.  In  1855,  Maj.  Haskin,  First  Artill- 
ery, in  command  of  the  post,  endeavored  again  to  clear  the 
channel.  Sand  hills  of  considerable  size,  which  had  accumu- 
lated, were  cut  through,  and  the  attempt  would  doubtless 
have  been  successful  but  for  the  low  condition  of  the  water 
during  that  unusually  dry  year.  A  small  amount  of  labor 
expended  under  favorable  circumstances  would,  in  all  proba- 
bility, eifectually  open  this  inlet,  and  render  the  harbor  one 
of  the  best  upon  the  eastern  coast.  At  times  it  has  admitted 
vessels  drawing  eight  feet,  and  the  entrance  is  protected  from 
north  winds  by  a  ledge  of  rocks. 

Tioo  inland  ivater  routes  have  been  explored,  between  Forts 
Jupiter  and  Lauderdale;  one,  very  near  to  the  coast,  and  the 
other,  some  miles  towards  the  interior.  These  were  traversed, 
during  the  month  of  December,  IS-tl,  by  Capt.  Wade,  with 
a  command  of  eighty  men.  Both  of  the  routes  leave  Jupiter 
Eiver  b}^  Lake  Worth  creek^  the  mouth  of  which  is  a  mile 
and  a  half  below  the  post.  This  stream,  like  most  of  the 
rivers  in  Florida,  is  exceedingly  crooked,  and,  where  it  emp- 
ties into  Jupiter  River,  is  one  hundred  yards  wide,  and 
several  feet  in  depth.  It  runs  almost  due  north,  with  a 
strong  current.  Pine  barren  lines  either  bank  for  five  miles, 
when  on  the  east  side  a  growth  of  sawgrass  commences,  ex- 
tending to  the  sea  shore,  which  is  about  two  miles  distant. 
On  the  west  the  pine  barren  continues,  but  recedes  a  quarter 
of  a  mile  back  from  the  creek,  which,  at  this  place,  is  only 
forty  feet  wide. 

Two  miles  higher  up,  the  two  routes  to  Fort  Lauderdale 
diverge.  The  stream  being  no  longer  navigable — except  at 
YQry  high  water,  when  there  is  sometimes  a  practicable  chan- 
as  far  as  Lake  Worth — it  is  necessary,  in  following  the  coast 
route,  to  pull  the  boats  three-quarters  of  a  mile  in  a  south- 
easterly direction,  through  a  sawgrass  pond,  to  a  haulover, 
four  hundred  yards  across,  which  leads  to  the  head  of  the 


lake.     Over  this  haulover,   Capt.   Wade's  command,    with 
seventeen  canoes,  was  three  hours  in  passing. 

Lake  Worth  is  a  pretty  sheet  of  water,  about  twenty  milps 
long  and  three  quarters  of  a  mile  in  width  ;  bounded  on  the 
west  by  pine  barren,  and  on  the  east  by  the  sand  hills  of  the 
beach,  which  are  sometimes  twelve  or  fifteen  feet  in  height, 
and  covered  with  cabbage  trees,  wild  figs,  mangroves,  saw 
palmettos,  &c.,  with  here  and  there  a  variety  of  the  cactus. 
In  the  centre  of  the  lake,  a  mile  and  a  half  from  the  head, 
is  an  island,  bearing  a  tree  resembling  the  wild  fig  in  appear- 
ance, with  a  fruit  like  the  olive  in  shape  and  size,  of  a  yellow 
color  when  ripe,  and  used  by  the  Indians  as  food.  A  deli- 
cate running  vine  is  also  here  found,  yielding  a  vegetable 
about  three  quarters  of  an  inch  long,  with  a  flavour  similar 
to  that  of  the  cucimiber.  Opposite  to  the  middle  of  the 
island  is  a  haulover,  only  eighty  yards  across,  descending 
twelve  feet  to  the  sea,  at  an  angle  of  fortj^-five  degrees.  Two 
miles  and  a  half  beyond  is  another  haulover,  one  hundred 
yards  in  width.  Below,  along  the  eastern  border  of  the 
Lake,  are  long  strips  of  cultivable  ground  about  two  hun- 
dred yards  wide,  separated  from  the  beach  by  ponds  and  wet 
prairie.  These  were  formerly  tilled  by  the  Indians,  who 
had  large  villages  in  the  neighborhood.  The  soil  is  light, 
but  very  rich,  being  almost  entirely  vegetable  mould.  Kock 
occasionally  makes  its  appearance  on  the  surface,  and  heaps 
of  sea  shells  are  strewn  here  and  there.  The  country  on  the 
west  side  would  afford  fine  grazing. 

Six  miles  from  the  last  haulover,  on  the  west  side  of  the 
Lake,  is  Chachi's  landing.  A  broad  trail,  half  a  mile  in  length, 
formerly  led  from  this  place  over  a  spruce  scrub  towards  the 
villages  of  the  Indians  whose  gardens  were  upon  the  opposite 
side  of  Lake  Worth,  which  they  reached  by  hauling  their 
canoes  over  the  trail.  The  last  fields  were  five  miles  from 
the  foot  of  the  Lake.  A  small  creek  forms  the  outlet  at  the 
southern  point ;  along  which,  at  ordinary  stages  of  the  water, 
boats  can  be  paddled  for  only  a  quarter  of  a  mile.     They  can 


then  be  pushed  along  the  creek  to  its  head,  half  a  mile  beyond, 
where  commences  asawgrass  marsh  through  which  they  have 
to  be  hauled.  Half  a  mile  of  hauling  brings  to  a  small  clump 
of  palmettos  that  can  be  seen  for  some  miles  and  serves  for  a 
landmark.  Another  mile  through  the  sawgrass  conducts  to 
a  lagoon  along  which  boats  may  be  paddled  for  a,  third  of  a 
mile;  the  lagoon  widening  into  a  little  pond  that  is  only  a 
hundred  and  fifty  yards  distant  from  the  sea.  The  ground 
rises  abruptly  twelve  or  fifteen  feet  and  then  descends  rapidly 
to  the  surf.  Under  the  mould  which  is  but  a  few  inches  deep, 
there  is  rock,  three  or  four  feet  thick;  in  one  place  rup- 
tured, forming  a  cave  of  twenty  feet  front,  and  extending  back 
fifteen  feet ;  the  bottom  covered  with  water.  Palmettos  of 
enormous  size  and  Spanish  bayonets  grow  in  the  vicinity. 
Near  by  is  an  old  haulover,  used  by  the  Indians  in  moving 
from  Lake  Worth  to  gather  Koontee^  which  grows  in  abun- 
dance on  the  pine  barren  to  the  west.  A  narrow  sluggish 
sort  of  creek,  five  feet  deep,  extends  from  the  pond  for  a  quar- 
ter of  a  mile,  over  which  distance  canoes  may  be  pushed. 
More  than  a  mile  of  sawgrass  marsh  is  then  to  be  traversed 
before  reachini?  the  Little  HilUboro. 

The  head  of  this  creek  is  very  narrow :  wide  enough  to 
allow  a  canoe  to  lie  in  it,  but  not  to  be  turned  around.  The 
banks  are  eighteen  inches  high,  formed  of  snail  shells  and 
black  mould.  The  prairie  is  three  quarters  of  a  mile  wide 
and  covered  with  thick  grass.  Canoes  have  to  be  pushed 
along  for  a  mile  and  a  quarter,  when  the  stream  becomes 
sufliciently  wide  to  admit  of  paddling.  A  quarter  of  a  mile 
below  is  Orange  Orove  Haulover.  A  small  mound  marks  the 
spot,  and  among  the  trees  that  grow  in  the  neighborhood  are 
a  few  wild  oranges  which  give  the  place  its  name.  The  dis- 
tance to  the  sea  is  about  three  hundred  y.nrds. 

It  required  five  days  of  hard  labor  for  the  eighty  men  in 

*  A  vegetable  somewhat  resembling  a  large  parsnip,  from  which,  when  it  is  reduced  to  a 
pulp  and  washed,  a  substance  like  arrow  root  is  obtained.  The  juice  is  said  to  have  poison- 
ous properties. 


Capt.  Wade's  command  to  haul  tlieir  seventeen  canoes  from 
the  foot  of  Lake  Worth  to  Orange  Grove  Haulover ;  the 
whole  distance  being  but  six  miles.  Twenty  men  were 
needed,  in  some  places,  to  pull  a  single  canoe.  In  the  saw- 
grass  marshes  they  would  sink  into  the  soft  mud  a  foot  deep 
at  every  step,  and  sometimes  up  to  their  middles ;  the  matted 
grass  interposing  an  additional  and  even  more  troublesome 
obstacle  to  their  progress. 

For  two  miles  from  the  haulover  the  Little  Hillsboro  winds 
through  the  prairie  ;  the  width  of  the  stream  increasing  grad- 
ually from  seven  to  fifty  feet.  To  the  east  grow  palmettos, 
mangroves  and  wild  figs,  and  on  the  west  there  is  a  pine  bar- 
ren, with  palmettos  and  occasional  thickets.  A  belt  of  man- 
groves, one  hundred  feet  broad,  with  openings  to  the  pine 
country  behind,  then  skirts  the  western  bank  for  five  miles. 
The  river  opens  twice  into  small  lakes,  and  increases  in  width 
to  one  hundred  feet,  when  it  joins  Boca  Ratones. 

This  sheet  of  water  is  a  mile  and  a  half  wide  and  three 
quarters  of  a  mile  long.  The  sand  bank  which  separates  it 
from  the  sea  is,  in  one  place,  only  a  hundred  yards  wide. 
Here  there  was  once  an  inlet.  The  timbers  of  a  ship  lie  buried 
in  what  was  formerly  the  channel.  It  is  said  b}^  the  Indians 
that  many  years  ago  a  wrecked  vessel  drifted  on  to  the  bar, 
and,  being  left  there  by  the  receding  tide,  formed  a  nucleus 
about  which  the  sand  collected  and  closed  the  mouth  of  the 

The  creek  that  forms  the  southern  outlet  from  Boca  Ea- 
tones  is  twenty  feet  wide;  mangroves  growing  along  the 
banks,  whose  pendant  roots  obstruct,  to  some  extent,  the 
passage  of  boats ;  which,  as  the  creek  narrows,  have  to  be 
finally  hauled  for  a  distance  of  two  and  a  half  miles  along  a 
small  and  very  crooked  channel.  This  conducts  to  the  north 
branch  of  the  Hillsboro,  a  stream  fifty  feet  broad,  lined  with 
mangroves,  and  increasing  in  size  to  its  mouth,  five  miles 
distant,  where  it  is  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  in  width. 

Hillsboro  Inlet  runs  south  for  a  mile ;  leaving  a  ridge  of 


sand,  three  hundred  feet  wide,  between  it  and  the  Ocean. 
It  narrows  very  much  towards  the  entrance,  affording  a  pass- 
age for  row-boats  only.  The  depth  of  water  on  the  bar  at 
low  tide  is  about  two  feet.  Five  hundred  yards  from  the 
bar  the  river  can  generally  be  forded ;  the  water  being  three 
feet  in  depth.  A  third  of  a  mile  from  the  mouth  a  small 
creek  comes  in  from  the  south.  For  nearly  half  a  mile  its 
sides  are  lined  with  mangroves ;  the  stream  gradually  nar- 
rowing from  thirty  to  twenty  feet,  and  running  between 
banks  two  feet  in  height.  A  mile  and  a  half  be3^ond  is  the 
head,  and  here  it  is  so  narrow  as  scarcely  to  afford  room  for 
the  passage  of  a  canoe.  A  grassy  prairie,  a  mile  wide  and 
two  miles  and  a  half  long,  sometimes  dry  and  sometimes 
with  a  few  inches  of  water  upon  it,  leads  to  the  head  of 
another  small  creek.  Pine  barren  still  continues  upon  the 
western  side.  At  a  distance  of  three  miles  the  creek  enters 
into  New  Biver,  on  the  eastern  side  of  which — four  miles 
distant — is  the  site  of  Fort  Lauderdale. 

The  second  inland  ivater  route  from  Fort  Jupiter  to  Fort 
Lauderdale,  as  has  been  already  stated,  diverges  from  the  one 
just  described,  at  the   point   where  the  latter  leaves  Lake 
Worth  Creek.     An  extensive  sawgrass  pond  or  marsh  ex- 
tends from  this  place,  twelve  and  a-half  miles  south,  to  Cha- 
chi's  Village,  which  is  a  mile  and  a-half  west  of  Lake  Worth, 
Lagoons  of  deep  water,  covered  with  spatterdocks,  are  here 
and  there  to  be  met  with.     In  inany  places,  canoes  have  to 
be  pushed  and  hauled,  but  at  others  the  water  expands  into 
grassy  lakes,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  in  extent,   and  generally 
from  one  to  two  miles  apart.     To  the  east  can  be  seen  a 
growth  of  spruce  with  some  pines,  and  to  the  west,  a  line  of 
cypress  bordering  the  pine  barren  back  of  it.     Capt.  Wade's 
command  were  two  days  in  going  from  Fort  Jupiter  to  Cha- 
chi's   Village.     The  site   of  this   is    upon  a  pretty   island, 
bounded  on  the  north  and  east  by  a  deep  clear  pond  half  a 
mile  wide,  and  between  a  mile  and  a-half  and  two  miles  long. 
On  the  west  and  south  it  is  surrounded  by  the  grassy  lake. 


The  trail  to  Lake  Worth  leads,  a  third  of  a  mile,  to  a  small 
pond,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  across,  on  the  opposite  side  of 
which  is  the  hanlover.  Westward,  a  trail  runs  from  the  vil- 
lage to  the  swamp  bordering  the  Everglades,  the  eastern 
boundary  of  the  former  being  about  seven  miles  distant. 
Capt.  Wade's  command  examined  this  trail  at  a  time  when 
the  water  was  rather  low,  and  did  not  attempt  to  take  the 
canoes  over,  as  it  would  have  been  necessary  to  haul  them 
a  mile  and  a-half  over  perfectly  dry  and  rather  rough  ground. 
There  were  indications  that  it  had  been  frequently  traversed 
in  boats  during  high  water.  The  grassy  lake  was  followed 
by  the  explormg  party  two  miles  and  a  half  to  the  north- 
west. For  the  last  quarter  of  a  mile  the  water  was  but  a  few 
inches  deep.  A  dry  pine  barren,  more  than  a  mile  across, 
through  which  runs  the  wagon-road  from  Fort  Jupiter  to 
Fort  Lauderdale,  forms  the  boundary  of  the  lake.  Beyond 
this  is  a  small  pond,  and  an  eighth  of  a  mile  farther  a  string 
of  them,  deep  enough  to  paddle  in,  and  generally  not  more 
than  forty  feet  apart.  At  the  end  of  half  a  mile  the  water 
again  overspreads  the  surface  of  the  ground  to  the  depth  of 
two  feet ;  dotted  with  small  islands  of  cypress  and  pine. 

Leaving  Chachi's  Village,  and  travelling  six  miles  a  little 
east  of  south  through  the  grassy  lake,  where  the  water  con- 
tinues about  two  feet  in  depth,  the  pine  barren  to  the  west  is 
again  encountered  at  a  point  where  the  lake  makes  into  it  for 
a  short  distance.  Turning  to  the  Avest,  at  the  end  of  a  mile 
of  alternate  water  and  dry  land,  a  series  of  ponds  is  arrived 
at.  When  the  water  is  high,  canoes  can  cross  to  the  Ever- 
glades at  this  place  without  difficulty.  At  ordinary  stages 
of  the  water,  some  of  the  haulovers  between  the  ponds  are 
three  hundred  feet  across;  others  not  more  than  forty  or 
fifty,  and  the  ponds  themselves,  at  such  times,  too  short  to 
admit  of  canoes  being  paddled  in  them.  The  labor  of  haul- 
ing is  excessive.  Five  miles  beyond,  there  is  a  belt  of  cypress 
marsh,  three  hundred  yards  wide,  with  plenty  of  water,  but 


requiring  the  constant  use  of  the  axe  to  clear  a  passage  for 
canoes.  An  open  space  of  a  hundred  yards  then  leads  to  a 
broad  boat-trail  through  a  thin  cypress  growth.  This  con- 
tinues, four  miles,  to  a  kind  of  haulover,  where  the  cypress 
trees  are  of  large  size,  and  there  is  no  water  at  most  seasons 
of  the  year.  This  haulover,  which  is  but  four  hundred  yards 
in  width,  Capt.  Wade's  men  were  five  hours  in  crossing  ; 
sinking  sometimes  several  feet  into  the  soft  red  mud,  and 
having  to  cut  a  way  through  the  cypress  roots  and  branches, 
which,  in  a  tangled  mass,  obstructed  the  way  and  endangered 
the  safety  of  the  canoes.  A  mile  beyond  the  haulover  the 
Everglades  commence.  The  route  continues  about  thirty-five 
miles  along  the  eastern  border  to  the  head  of  Snook  Creek, 
which  may  be  followed  to  Fort  Lauderdale.  Capt.  Wade 
was  two  days  in  reaching  the  fort  after  entering  the  Ever- 

At  very  high  stages  of  the  water,  many  of  the  difficulties 
met  with  in  examining  the  two  routes  now  mentioned  would 
be  obviated,  but  it  is  not  probable  that,  under  any  circum- 
stances, either  would  be  selected,  were  the  object  merely  to 
pass  from  one  post  to  the  other.  The  mail  is  carried  from 
Fort  Jupiter  to  Cape  Florida,  down  the  strand  ;  the  interve- 
ning waters  being  crossed  on  rafts  when  too  deep  for  wading. 
Small  parties  can  follow  the  beach  in  this  way  during  some 
seasons  of  the  year,  but  it  would  not  be  a  practicable  route 
for  the  transportation  of  troops  or  supplies.  The  only  one 
available  for  this  purpose  is  the  wagon-road  already  alluded 
to.  This  road  was  opened  many  years  ago.  It  follows  the 
pine  barren,  which  extends  almost  uninterruptedly,  a  few 
miles  from  the  coast,  from  Fort  Jupiter  to  Key  Biscayne  Bay. 
No  itinerary  of  the  route  has  been  met  with. 


Old  Fort  Lauderdale  is  on  the  right  bank  of  the  west  branch 
of  New  Biver,  a  little  more  than  a  mile  from  its  mouth.  The 
blanch  rises  in  the  Everglades  five  or  six  miles  to  the  west  of 
the  Fort,  and  runs  nearly  east  through  cypress  and  pine  bar- 
ren. Part  of  the  way  it  flows  between  steep  rocky  banks. 
Its  average  depth  is  about  four  feet.  It  is  forty  feet  wide  at 
its  source,  and  about  one  hundred  yards  wide  at  its  junction 
with  the  main  river.  Opposite  this  place,  on  the  sand  bar 
which  separates  New  River  from  the  ocean  and  which  is  but 
a  few  hundred  yards  wide,  is  the  site  of  Fort  Lauderdale. 
The  location  is  healthy  at  all  seasons.  It  can  be  approached 
by  small  vessels.  When  formerly  occupied  by  troops  it  re- 
ceived supplies  by  a  haulover  from  the  Atlantic.  The  ordinary 
mode  of  communication  between  Forts  Lauderdale  and  Dallas 
is  by  water.  New  River,  opposite  to  the  former  post,  is  about 
three  hundred  yards  wide  and  four  or  five  feet  deep.  It  runs 
parallel  to  the  coast,  in  most  places  only  four  or  five  hundred 
yards  from  it.  The  water  upon  the  bar  at  low  tide  is  but 
little  over  two  feet  in  depth.  From  thence  to  Fort  Dallas  by 
sea  it  is  about  twenty  three  miles. 

A  wagon  road,  a  few  miles  inland,  is  laid  down  upon  some 
sketches  of  the  vicinity.  It  leaves  the  west  branch  of  New 
River  at  the  site  of  the  old  Fort,  and  runs  nearly  parallel  to 
the  coast,  passing  to  the  west  of  a  sawgrass  marsh  which  ex- 
tends some  miles  to  the  south.  It  follows,  throughout  its 
whole  extent,  a  dry  belt  of  country  grown  up  with  pine,  pal- 
metto, and  koontee,  and  crosses  three  streams ;  the  Boca  Ra- 
tones,  Arch  Creek — which  is  spanned  by  a  natural  bridge — and 
Little  River.  The  whole  distance  by  land,  from  Fort  Lauder- 
dale to  Fort  Dallas,  is  about  twenty  five  miles. 


Fort  Dallas  is  situated  on  the  north  side  of  Miami  River, 
at  its  mouth.  Its  excellent  harbor  and  salubrity  render  the 
location  a  good  one,  and,  as  a  military  position,  it  is  one  of 
the  most  important  in  the  state.  The  country  in  the  imme- 
diate vicinity,  along  the  coast  and  towards  the  interior, 
between  Key  Biscayne  Bay  and  the  Everglades,  is  a  great 
resort  of  the  Indians.  It  furnishes  a  large  portion  of  their 
supply  of  koontee,  and  is  one  of  their  favorite  hunting  grounds ; 
besides  being  the  only  place  where  they  can  pursue  a  contra- 
band trade.  It  is  the  starting  point  of  most  of  the  trails  which 
lead  to  the  western  border  of  the  Everglades,  and  to  the  Indian 
settlements  in  the  Big  Cypress  Swamp. 

Ascending  the  Miami  Eiver  two  miles  and  a  half  to  where 
it  forks,  and  then  keeping  up  the  southern  branch  two  miles 
further,  a  place  is  arrived  at,  called  Adams'  Landing,  which 
is  upon  the  eastern  edge  of  the  Everglades. 

Ihe  Everglades  of  Florida  cover  an  area  of  about  four 
thousand  square  miles ;  embracing  more  than  one  half  of  the 
portion  of  the  State  south  of  Lake  Okeechobee.  The  sub- 
soil of  this  vast  region  is  coralline  limestone.  Upon  the 
surface  of  this,  which  is  very  rough  and  irregular,  lies  an 
immense  accumulation  of  sand,  alluvial  deposits,  and  decayed 
vegetable  matter ;  forming  a  mass  of  quicksand  and  soft  mud, 
from  three  to  ten  feet  or  more  in  depth,  that  overspreads  all 
but  a  few  points  of  the  first  stratum.  Upon  the  mud  rests  a 
sheet  of  water,  the  depth  varjdng  with  the  conformation  of 
the  bottom ;  but  seldom,  at  dry  seasons,  greater  than  three 
feet.  The  whole  is  filled  with  a  rank  growth  of  coarse  and 
tough  grass,  from  eight  to  ten  feet  high,  having  a  sharp  ser- 


rated  edge  like  a  saw,  from  which  it  obtains  its  name  of 
sawgrass.  In  many  portions  of  the  Everglades  this  sawgrass 
is  so  thiek  as  to  be  impenetrable,  but  is  intersected  by 
numerous  narrow  and  tortuous  channels  that  form  a  kind  of 
labyrinth,  where  outlets  present  themselves  in  every  direction ; 
most  of  them,  however,  terminating,  at  longer  or  shorter 
distances,  in  an  impassable  barrier  of  grass,  mud  and  quick- 
sand. The  surface  water  is  quickly  affected  by  rains ;  the 
alternate  rising  and  falling  during  wet  seasons  being  very 
rapid.  The  difference  of  level  between  the  highest  and 
lowest  stages  of  water  is  from  two  to  three  feet.  The  general 
surface  of  the  Everglades  is  therefore  subject  to  great  changes; 
the  character  of  marshy  lake  or  mud  flat  predominating 
accordmg  to  the  wetness  or  dryness  of  the  season.  It  is 
probable  that,  sometimes,  more  than  one  half  of  the  surface 
has  no  water  upon  it.  Besides  the  mud  islands,  small  keys 
are  here  and  there  met  with  which  are  dry  at  all  seasons. 
Upon  these  the  soil  is  very  rich.  There  are  many  such,  un- 
doubtedly, that  are  often  made  the  sites  of  Indian  gardens. 
In  some  places,  they  will  be  grown  up  with  bushes,  appearing 
in  the  distance  like  a  continuous  wood,  and  occasionally  there 
are  clumps  of  pine,  cabbage  palmetto,  cypress,  and  live  oak. 
In  the  year  1855  Capt.  Dawson,  First  Artillery,  made  two 
explorations  into  the  Everglades.  The  first  was  undertaken 
during  the  month  of  March,  which  is  one  of  the  dryest  of  the 
year ;  June  and  October  being  ordinarily  the  rainy  months. 
After  leaving  Adams'  landing,  the  water  at  first  was  very  shal- 
low, but,  in  five  miles,  increased  in  depth  to  twenty  inches, 
so  that  the  canoes  could  be  poled  along  instead  of  being  drag- 
ged. The  general  direction  was  west,  though  the  route  was 
extremely  winding  and  circuitous,  so  much  so  that  at  one  time 
when  the  leading  canoe  was  nearly  a  mile  in  advance  of  the 
rear  one  by  the  trail,  it  was  only  fifty  yards  distant  from  it 
in  a  direct  line.  At  the  end  of  eighteen  miles  it  was  found 
that  the  usual  course  to  the  western  side  was  impracticable, 
and  an  attempt  was  made  to  go  around  towards  the  south. 


During  the  latter  part  of  the  second  day,  long  mud  banks 
were  encountered,  in  which  the  men  sank  to  their  middles 
while  dragging  their  boats.  The  course  through  the  inter- 
vening ponds  was  greatly  obstructed  by  fungi,  clumps  of 
trees  and  bushes,  and  innumerable  keys  could  be  seen  in  all 
directions ;  the  ground  everywhere,  however,  being  boggy 
and  wet.  The  third  day,  the  water  became  in  many  places 
too  shoal  to  float  the  canoes ;  the  breaks  between  the  ponds 
were  of  greater  extent,  and  the  men  were  annoyed  by  the 
sawgrass  cutting  their  feet  and  limbs  while  forcing  a  way 
along.  On  the  fourth  day  all  of  the  difficulties  increased ; 
breaks  occurring  two  or  three  hundred  yards  in  length,  grown 
up  with  old  sawgrass,  and  without  water.  The  ponds  were 
but  a  few  yards  across  and  filled  with  fungi.  The  keys  were 
smaller,  lower,  and  fewer  in  number.  At  the  end  of  the  day 
the  command  had  reached  a  point  forty-three  miles  by  the 
trail,  and  twenty-seven  and  a  half  miles  in  a  direct  line,  from 
Adams'  landing,  when  all  progress  was  barred  by  a  sea  of 
tall  sawgrass,  extending  as  far  as  the  eye  could  reach ;  occa- 
sional small  keys  being  seen,  but  no  water. 

A  second  exploration  by  Capt.  Dawson  was  undertaken 
during  the  month  of  June,  at  which  time  the  surface 
water  was  more  than  a  foot  deeper  than  before.  After  six 
days  of  difficult  and  laborious  exertion  he  succeeded  in 
attaining  a  point  a  few  miles  north-east  of  Prophet's  Land- 
ing^ where  fu.rther  advance  was  stopped  by  the  want  of 
water.  The  edge  of  the  Big  Cypress  was  approached  to 
within  three  miles,  but  it  was  impossible  to  get  any  nearer. 
The  distance  in  a  direct  line  from  Fort  Dallas  to  the  place 
where  the  party  turned  back  was  fifty -three  miles.  By  the 
trail  it  was  estimated  to  be  one  hundred  and  twenty  miles. 
For  eighteen  miles  of  this  distance,  the  canoes  had  to  be 
dragged  through  the  mud  and  sawgrass. 

In  December,  1841,  the  command  of  Major  Childs  crossed, 
in  four  days,  from  Fort  Dallas  to  Prophet's  and  Waxy 
Hadjo's  landing,  and  afterwards  recrossed  the  Everglades  to 


Fort  Lauderdale  in  about  the  same  time.  The  first  line  passed 
over  was  undoubtedly  the  same  as  that  traversed  by  Capt. 
Dawson,  but  no  such  obstacles  were  encountered  as  were  ex- 
perienced by  the  latter.  There  appears  to  have  been  at  that 
time  a  passage  for  canoes  without  having  to  resort  to  haul- 
ing. The  Indian  guide  who  accompanied  Capt.  Dawson 
stated  that  the  country  was  greatly  changed  since  he  had 
crossed  it  sixteen  years  before,  and  that  the  keys  were  larger 
and  more  numerous.  Settlers,  who  have  resided  upon  the 
Miami  Eiver  for  ten  or  twelve  years,  assert  that  the  gradual 
filling  up  of  the  Everglades  has  been  very  perceptible.  It 
would  be  reasonable  to  infer  from  the  nature  of  the  country 
that  this  must  have  been  the  case.  The  filling  up  appears 
to  have  been  greatest  towards  the  north  and  west;  the 
southeastern  portions  always  containing  most  water.  The 
late  examinations  would  seem  to  establish  the  fact  that,  at 
present,  during  dry  seasons,  the  Everglades  are  impassable. 
Only  during  high  stages  of  the  water  would  it  be  possible  to 
cross.  Even  then  the  passage  would  be  attended  with  great 

It  has  been  suggested  that  a  direct  route  for  canoes  might 
be  cut,  through  the  sawgrass  and  mud  banks,  from  Fort 
Dallas  to  one  of  the  western  landings  of  the  Everglades, 
which  would  make  it  possible  to  pass,  at  ordinary  seasons, 
from  one  place  to  the  other,  besides  shortening  the  travelling 
distance  some  sixty-five  miles.  It  has  not  yet  been  proved, 
however,  whether  such  an  undertaking  would  be  practica- 
ble; or,  even  could  it  be  accomplished,  whether — consider- 
ing the  rapid  growth  of  vegetable  matter — the  improvement 
would  be  at  all  permanent. 


Much  of  the  country  in  the  vicinity  of  the  Big  Cypress 
Swamp  possess^  similar  features  to  it,  and  has  been,  upon 
nearly  all  of  the  maps,  included  within  its  boundary.  The 
region  in  question  derives  its  importance  from  the  fact  that  it 
has  for  a  long  period  been  a  principal  seat  of  operations 
against  the  Seminole  Indians,  to  whom,  its  peculiar  advan- 
tages for  subsistence,  concealment  and  defence,  render  it  a 
favorite  resort.  It  forms  the  western  boundary  of  the  Ever 
glades  as  far  north  as  Waxy  Iladjo^s  Landing^  from  which 
place  it  runs  north-west  and  west  to  within  six  miles  of  the 
OkoloacoocJiee ;  extending  then  south-east  to  AssunivaJi's 
Town^  and  thence  in  an  irregular  line,  south  of  south-west,  to 
a  point  four  miles  south-east  of  Boivlegs'  Old  Town ;  thence 
nearly  west,  crossing  the  Okoloacoochee,  to  Old  iort  Foster, 
and  from  there,  west  south-west,  nearly  to  the  coast.  There 
is  considerable  cypress  growth  in  the  adjoining  swampy 
land  excluded  by  this  boundary,  but  it  does  not  predominate. 
Between  the  Okoloacoochee  and  the  north-western  limit  of 
the  swamp,  the  country  is  prairie,  dotted  over  in  the  southern 
part  with  pine  islands,  and,  in  the  northern,  with  clumps  of. 
maple  and  swamp-ash  bushes,  with  occasional  cabbage  and 
live  oak.  In  the  distance,  these  resemble  a  continuous  line 
of  cypress  swamp,  but  can  be  distinguished  from  it — in  win- 
ter— by  their  light  greyish  color ;  cypress  having  a  reddish 
tinge,  and — in  summer — by  the  deeper  shade  of  the  green  of 
the  bushes.  Pine  can  easily  be  detected  among  others  by  its 
very  deep  shade  of  green. 

*  This  region  was  traversed  and  explored  in  every  direction  by  Major  Hays  and  Lieut. 
Hartsuff,  2nd.  Artillery,  during  the  early  part  of  the  year  1S5.5.  The  information  here  given 
In  regard  to  it  has  been  obtained  from  the  reports  of  these  oflBcers. 


The  north-east  corner  of  the  swamp,  from  a  line  running 
west  from  Fort  Shackelford^  till  it  meets  one  running  south 
from  Old  Depot  No.  2,  is  quite  open,  containing  one  large  and 
several  small  prairies.  Along  the  line  running  south  are 
large  numbers  of  live  oak  hammocks,  many  of  which  have 
been  cultivated.  They  are  all  small;  few  being  iiiore  than 
one  or  two  acres  in  extent,  and  none  exceeding  five.  Cab- 
bage-trees are  abundant.  The  country  is  comparatively 
high,  and  is  altogether  admirably  adapted  to  the  Indians.  It 
is  so  open  that  wagons  can  be  driven  anywhere  in  it  during 
the  dry  season,  but  in  the  wet  season  it  is  covered  with  water 
and  the  ground  is  boggy.  South  of  the  line  running  west, 
the  cypress  is  more  dense,  and  the  land  lower  :  the  open 
spaces  are  less  frequent  and  not  above  high  water.  Wagons 
can  be  taken  in  only  a  few  places,  and  to  short  distances 
south.  Packmules  can  traverse  the  southern  portion  of  it 
during  dry  seasons,  but  even  then  with  much  labor  and  difi&- 
culty.  At  wet  seasons  it  is  totally  impassable.  Concerning 
the  southern  and  south-western  part  of  the  Big  Cypress,  little 
is  known ;  few  exploring  parties  having  ever  passed  through 
it.  It  is  probable  that  most  of  it  is  impracticable,  even  for 
the  Indians,  at  all  seasons  of  the  year.  Over  the  northern 
and  north-eastern  part,  Indian  trails  run  in  all  directions  and 
to  every  field,  garden  and  hedge.  Whenever,  in  the  course 
of  explorations,  these  trails  have  been  deviated  from,  great 
difficulties  or  impassable  obstacles  have  been  encountered. 

The  0]<:oloacoochee.  already  referred  to,  is  a  long  con- 
tinuous kind  of  marsh  or  wet  prairie,  heading  a  few  miles 
southeast  of  Fort  Thompson,  varying  in  width  from  a  few 
hundred  yards  to  two  or  three  miles,  and  running  in  a  gen- 
eral southerly  direction  to  near  the  southern  edge  of  the  Big 
Cypress.  For  the  first  few  miles  the  character  of  wet  prairie 
predominates.  For  the  next  twelve,  to  the  point  where 
Capt.  Ker's  route  crosses  it,  it  is  a  succession  of  boggy 
marshes,  small  lakes,  lily  ponds,  cypress  swamps,  cabbage 


and  oak  hammocks,  connected,  and  entirely  impassable,  even 
at  dry  seasons,  for  man  or  horse.  Between  Capt.  Ker'a 
route  and  Fort  Keais,  after  passing  through  a  cypress 
swamp  one  or  two  miles  in  extent,  it  becomes  a  low  wet 
marsh  bprdered  in  places  by  maple  and  swamp  ash.  From 
Fort  Keais  south,  as  far  as  it  has  been  explored,  its  banks 
are  lined  by  dense  cypress  extending  some  distance  back  on 
either  side.  There  is  no  practicable  channel  north  of  Fort 
Keais,  excepting  a  short  one  in  the  swamp  already  alluded 
to.  There  are  but  two  crossing  places ;  one  at  the  intersec- 
tion of  Capt.  Ker's  route,  where  the  Okoloacoochee  is  very 
narrow,  and  the  other  about  five  miles  farther  south. 

A  mile  from  the  former  crossing,  in  a  grove  of  pines,  is 
the  site  of  Fort  Simon  Drum.  Eoutes  diverge  from  this  post 
to  almost  every  part  of  the  Big  Cypress.  Their  general 
character  is  so  much  the  same  as  scarcely  to  require  a  special 
description.  The  three  principal  roads,  from  which  most  of 
the  others  branch,  lead  to  Fort  Shackelford,  to  Temporary 
Depot  No.  1,  and  to  old  Fort  Foster  or  Temporary  Depot 
No.  2.* 

The  first  of  these  (Capt.  Ker's  route)  can  be  traversed  by 
wagons  as  far  as  Fort  Shackelford,  during  the  dry  season ; 
places  being  occasionally  met  with  that  are  boggy  and  some- 
what diflicult  to  cross.  Oak  and  pine  islands  are  seen  about 
six  miles  to  the  north  of  the  road;  often  appearing  in  the 
distance  like  an  unbroken  line  of  forest.  Fort  Shackelford 
was  built  in  1855.  The  blockhouse  is  situated  upon  a  pine 
island  one  mile  from  Waxy  Hadjo's  landing,  near  the  edge 
of  the  Everglades,  and  just  within  the  swamp.  The  country 
to  the  south  and  southwest  has  been  much  and  recently 
occupied  by  Indians.     Some  of  the  villages  are  quite  large. 

*  No  traces  of  old  Fort  Foster  have  been  discovered  during  late  explorations,  but  a  com- 
parison of  the  old  with  recent  maps  and  reports  would  seem  to  prove  that  the  sites  of  these 
two  forts  must  be  very  near  to  each  other,  If  not  identical. 


Sayn  Joneses — three  miles  and  a  half  west  southwest — con- 
taining twenty  huts,  and  Fustenuggee  Chopko's — five  miles 
and  a  half  south — double  that  number.  This  last  village  is 
on  a  pine  island,  and  occupies  one  of  the  highest  points  of 
ground  that  has  been  found  in  the  whole  swamp.  The  ap- 
proaches to  it  are  diflicult.  It  cannot  be  reached  at  all  with 
wagons,  and  only  with  great  trouble  by  packmules.  There 
are  other  villages  of  good  size  not  far  distant.  The  time  and 
labor  required  to  explore  southwest  from  Fort  Shackelford 
caused  the  post  to  be  abandoned,  as  unsuitable  for  operations 
in  that  vicinity.  An  attempt  was  made  to  follow  south, 
along  the  edge  of  the  Big  Cypress,  between  it  and  the  Ever- 
glades, but  boggy  marshes  and  dense  cypress  barred  all  pro- 
gress in  that  direction. 

The  road  from  Fort  Simon  Drum  to  Temporary  Depot 
No.  1,  leads  in  a  southerly  direction  along  the  edge  of  the 
Okoloacoochee,  for  nearly  four  miles,  to  the  crossing,  and 
thence  eastwardly,  over  a  portion  of  the  country  not  in- 
cluded within  the  limits  of  the  Big  Cypress.  This  is  prairie, 
interspersed  with  small  hammocks,  and  entirely  covered 
with  water  at  wet  seasons ;  the  southern  portion  being  a  suc- 
cession of  marshes  and  ponds.  Wagons,  during  the  dry  sea- 
son, can  go  as  far  as  the  Depot.  In  an  ordinarily  wet  season, 
the  crossing  of  the  Okoloacoochee,  and  of  some  of  the  ponds  to 
be  met  with  during  the  latter  part  of  the  distance,  would  be 
difl&cult.  Unless  the  water  were  very  high  packmules  might 
be  brought  to  Bowlegs'  Town,  which  is  three  miles  beyond 
the  Depot  in  a  southeasterly  direction.  Farther  south  than 
this  a  Depot  could  not  be  established.  The  cypress  swamp 
near  by  and  to  the  north  of  this  vicinity  is  quite  dense, 
though  it  is  nowhere  continuous.  Patches  of  prairie,  clumps 
of  pine,  cabbage  and  oak,  and  brush  hammocks  are  scattered 
throughout  its  whole  extent.  At  certain  seasons  it  is  almost 
entirely  submerged.  The  country  west  of  Bowlegs'  Town 
does  not  appear  to  have  been  recently  inhabited  by  Indians. 


From  Fort  Simon  Drum  to  Temporary  Depot  No.  2,  the 
road  leads  through  prairie,  pine  barren  and  strips  of  cypress 
swamp.  It  is  rendered  crooked  by  avoiding  diSereat  ob- 
structions, but  can  be  easily  traversed  with  wagons  during 
the  dry  season.  Several  trails  are  laid  down  upon  the  old 
maps,  leading  south  and  southwest  from  the  Depot  to  Malco 
Hiver,  but  the  recent  attempts  to  explore  in  this  direction 
have  not  been  successful ;  perhaps  owing  to  the  higher  state 
of  the  water  in  the  swamps.  Two  positions  in  the  neigh- 
borhood of  the  Depot  are  designated  as  good  sites  for  posts ; 
one,  four  miles  northeast  of  it,  and  the  other,  four  miles 
north,  on  the  road  to  Fort  Simon  Drum,  between  the  head 
of  the  Cypress  swamp  which  extends  to  the  south,  and  the 
extensive  prairie  which  commences  three  hundred  yards  dis- 
tant, and  reaches  north  to  Choalapulka. 

There  are  certain  obstacles  to  a  campaign  in  the  Big 
Cypress  at  all  times.  In  the  pine  woods,  the  palmettos  often 
grow  so  thick  and  large  that  horses  cannot  travel  among 
them,  nor  men  without  great  trouble ;  and,  in  the  swamps, 
the  thick  cypress  trees,  the  underbrush  hammocks,  and  the 
boggy  ground  form  equal  or  greater  obstructions.  During 
the  dry  seasons,  however,  operations  can  be  conducted  with- 
out important  difficulties.  Cavalry  can  operate  to  advantage 
throughout  most  of  the  region,  though  some  of  the  swamps 
and  thickets  would  have  to  be  penetrated  on  foot.  By  skirt- 
ing the  cypress,  openings  can  almost  always  be  found ;  the 
rule  being  tliat  where  the  cypress  is  small  the  ground  is  firm, 
and,  on  the  contrary,  where  the  trees  are  large,  the  ground 
is  soft  and  boggy,  and  covered  with  thick  undergrowth. 
Large  pine  trees  indicate  a  thick  growth  of  large  palmetto, 
and  small  pine  the  reverse.  Water  can  always  be  obtained 
by  digging  from  two  to  six  feet,  and  pine  islands  may  be 
found  in  every  direction  at  convenient  distances  to  camp 
upon.  Troops  can  march  with  comparative  ease  upon  all  of 
the  well  marked  trails,  and  horses  travel  over  without  much 
difficulty.     Off  the  trails  it  is  almost  impossible  to  go  in  any 


direction.  When  saturated  with  water,  the  ground  becomes 
either  quicksand  or  boggy.  A  campaign  over  the  Big 
Cypress,  during  the  wet  season,  would  be  utterly  imprac- 

For  agricultural  purposes  the  whole  region  may  be  con- 
sidered worthless;  the  few  small  and  scattered  hammocks 
being  the  only  portions  susceptible  of  cultivation. 

To  the  Indian  it  possesses  valuable  resources.  The  means 
of  subsistence  are  inexhaustible.  If  debarred  from  cultivat- 
ing his  garden  or  raising  stock  ;  fish,  game  and  fruits  supply 
abundant  food.  The  cabbage  trees  alone  would  yield  an  un- 
failing support.  In  case  of  hostilities  and  pursuit,  the 
innumerable  dense  and  tangled  hammocks,  thickets,  and  lily 
ponds,  where  the  whole  tribe  might  baffle  the  pursuit  of  vast- 
ly superior  numbers,  render  the  Big  Cypress,  as  a  strong- 
hold, almost  impregnable. 


The  country  between  the  Big  Cypress  and  the  Galoosahatchee 
is  principally  prairie ;  with  ponds,  marshes,  pine  and  oak 
islands,  &c.,  scattered  more  or  less  thickly  over  its  surface. 
This  region,  as  well  as  that  in  the  vicinity  of  Choalapulka,  has 

•  From  the  reports  of  Lieut.  Hvunphreys,  Top.  Engrs.  and  Lieut.  Hartsuflfj  Second  Artillery. 


been  much  used  by  the  Seminoles  as  a  hunting  ground. 
During  late  explorations,  few  traces  of  Indians  have  been  seen. 
Here  and  there,  hunting  lodges  have  been  found,  but  no  per- 
manent villages,  nor  recently  cultivated  fields. 

A  wagon  road  runs  nearly  west,  across  the  prairie,  from 
Fort  Simon  Drum ;  forking  at  a  distance  of  about  four  miles 
from  the  post ;  the  left  branch  leading  to  Fort  Myers^  and  the 
right  to  Fort  Deynaud.  The  former,  for  six  miles,  passes 
over  prairie  dotted  with  willow  and  pine  islands;  the  re- 
maining distance  is  through  pine  woods,  with  patches  of 
prairie,  clumps  of  cypress,  and  some  willow  and  lily  ponds. 
During  dry  seasons  it  is  good,  smooth  and  hard.  In  wet 
seasons  it  is  covered  wiiii  water,  and  the  ground  becomes  so 
soft  as  to  be  entirely  impracticable  for  wagons. 

The  branch  to  Fort  Deynaud  passes  over  a  country  in  all 
respects  similar  to  that  just  described. 

Nine  miles  east  of  Okoloacoochee,  on  the  road  to  Fort 
Shackelford,  a  wagon  trail  turns  off  north  towards  Fort 
Thompson.  For  seven  miles  from  the  point  of  leaving  the 
Fort  Shackelford  road  the  country  is  low  prairie,  with 
numerous  flag  ponds;  the  whole  boggy  and  impassable  in 
the  wet  season.  The  rest  of  the  way  is  through  palmettos 
and  pine  islands,  with  patches  of  prairie.  The  pines  increase 
in  size  and  number  till  within  a  mile  of  Fort  Thompson. 

Seventeen  miles  from  Fort  Thompson  the  road  passes  by 
the  remains  of  an  old  Indian  town,  from  which  a  trail  runs 
to  another  four  miles  further  west.  The  first  place  would  be 
a  suitable  location  for  a  Fort ;  the  country  being  high,  and 
well  timbered  with  pine  and  cypress.  Palmettos  grow  near 
by  in  sufficient  quantity  for  building. 

The  route  followed  by  Capt.  Ker,  between  the  Caloosa- 
hatchee  and  the  western  border  of  the  Big  Cypress,  is  not  so 
good  as  either  of  the  roads  above  mentioned ;  a  considerable 
portion  of  it  being  over  wet  prairie  and  soft  ground. 


The  Cahosahatchee  can  be  forded,  at  most  seasons  of  the 
year,  at  a  place  two  hundred  yards  east  of  Fort  Thompson. 
The  river  at  the  ford  is  about  twenty-five  yards  wide-,  flow- 
ing between  abrupt  hmestone  banks.  During  the  dry 
months  there  are  only  one  or  two  feet  of  water,  but  marks 
upon  the  trees  indicate  that  the  depth  is  sometimes  as  great 
as  nine  feet. 

Two  miles  from  the  crossing  the  routes  to  Fort  Meade 
diverge.  The  right  hand  fork  follows  the  Fort  Center 
road  over  the  prairie  as  far  as  the  Tlathlopo2:>'kahatchee 
or  Fish  Eating  Creeh ;  which,  where  the  road  strikes  it,  is 
thirty  yards  in  width,  and  at  low  water  a  foot  deep.  In  the 
rainy  seasons  the  depth  of  the  water  is  four  or  five  feet. 
The  banks  are  low,  and  on  either  side  it  is  swampy  for 
about  a  hundred  yards.  Ten  miles  from  Fish  Eating  Creek, 
over  open  prairie,  conducts  to  Oood  Water ^  where  the  road 
passes  through  five  hundred  yards  of  boggy  and  difficult 
ground.  Continuing  for  twenty  miles  over  prairie,  sand 
hills,  and  pine  country,  the  trail  leads  to  a  marsh  of  con- 
siderable extent,  in  which  the  South  Prong  of  the  Big 
Charley  Popka  takes  its  rise.  The  course  from  there  is  north- 
easterly, for  seven  miles,  to  Lake  Istokpoga. 

A  better  route,  as  far  as  this  place,  might  be  obtained  by 
leaving  the  road  to  the  right,  after  crossing  Fish  Eating 
Creek,  and  keeping  a  more  westwardly  course  for  ten  or 
twelve  miles,  so  as  to  pass  to  the  west  of  Good  Water;  then 
to  take  a  direct  course  about  north  ten  degrees  east  to  the 

*  From  a  map  and  report  of  a  reconnoissance  by  Lieut.  Benson,  Second  Artillery. 


northwest  shore  of  the  Lake.  Such  a  route  would  pass  over 
a  higher  and  more  favorable  country,  and  avoid  the  boggy- 
ground  in  the  neighborhood  of  Good  Water  and  the  South 

After  leaving  the  lake,  the  road  runs  in  a  northwest 
direction  for  a  few  miles  till  it  enters  the  marshy  grounds 
between  the  Middle  and  South  Prongs  of  the  Big  Charley 
Popka.  These  grounds  are  impassable  in  the  wet  season. 
In  approaching  the  Middle  Prong  some  high  pine  country 
is  traversed;  sand  hills  appearing  to  the  right.  Entering 
these  sand  hills,  the  route  passes  over  a  high  black  jack 
ridge,  a  mile  or  two  west  of  a  string  of  small  lakes  that  con- 
nect the  waters  of  LoclLapopka  and  Istokpoga.  The  course 
is  then  more  to  the  west,  on  the  ground  between  the  low 
country  of  the  Middle  Prong  and  the  sand  hills  to  the 
northeast.  The  country  between  the  Middle  and  North 
Prongs  is  higlier  than  that  farther  south.  It  is  wooded  with 
pine  and  black-jack.  In  the  vicinity^  of  the  North  Prong 
there  are  a  few  yards  of  boggy  ground.  On  the  north  side 
the  country  is  a  high  pine  region,  with  some  palmetto  and 
black-jack,  as  far  as  the  Fort  Meade  and  Kissimmee  road. 
This  road  is  followed  for  five  or  six  miles  to  Bowlegs  Creeh, 
over  which  there  is  a  bridge.  The  ground,  for  some  two 
hundred  yards  east  of  the  creek,  is  low  and  boggy.  To  the 
west,  as  far  as  Peas  Greek,  the  road  is  good ;  passing  first  over 
a  pine  and  palmetto  region,  then  over  pine  and  black-jack, 
and  then  over  a  rolling  country  covered  with  deadning.  Peas 
Creek,  at  the  ford,  is  thirty  yards  wide,  and  at  dry  seasons 
four  feet  deep.  It  can  be  crossed  there  without  difiiculty. 
Upon  the  western  bank  is  the  site  of  Fort  Meade. 

The  other  route  from  Fort  Thompson  to  Fort  Meade  is 
better  and  more  direct.  It  follows  the  left  hand  fork,  from 
the  place  where  the  road  branches  a  short  distance  north  of 
the  Caloosahatchee,  and  keeps  in  a  north-westwardly  direction 
for  nearly  thirty  miles  over  the  Big  Prairie  to  the  road  from 
Fort  Meade  to  Fort  Myers,  which  it  follows  to  the  former  place. 


After  leaving  Peas  Creek  the  roate  follows  a  blazed  trail ; 
crossing  at  a  distance  of  three  miles  a  small  branch  where 
the  ground  is  boggy  for  a  little  distance.  This  might  be 
turned  by  keeping  more  to  the  east.  A  mile  and  a  half  be- 
yond is  Bowlegs  Creek,  which,  at  the  ford,  is  five  or  six 
yards  wide,  and  at  high  water  from  five  to  six  feet  deep. 
At  most  seasons,  the  depth  is  not  greater  than  three  or  three 
and  a  half  feet.  There  are  about  two  hundred  yards  of  low 
ground  bordering  the  creek,  when  a  high  pine  and  palmetto 
country  begins  and  extends  to  the  Little  Charley  Popka. 
Here,  at  dry  seasons,  there  is  no  water  at  the  ford :  in  rainy 
ones  it  is  about  six  yards  wide  and  five  feet  deep.  The  banks 
are  sloping,  and  the  countr}^,  for  a  few  hundred  yards  south, 
low  but  not  boggy.  Some  very  high  palmettos  grow  near  by. 
From  this  place  to  the  Big  Charley  Popka,  the  road  passes 
generally  through  a  high  pine  and  palmetto  region. 

Five  or  six  miles  from  the  first  creek,  is  a  small  lagoon 
containing  good  water.  At  the  crossing  of  the  Big  Charley 
Popka  the  stream  is  twenty  yards  wide,  and,  during  dry  sea- 
sons, about  four  and  a  half  feet  deep.  At  high  water  the 
depth  is  as  great  as  ten  or  twelve  feet,  and  a  good  deal  of  care 
must  be  observed  in  endeavoring  to  cross.  The  banks  are 
sloping ;  on  the  south  side  rather  low,  and  fringed  with  live 
oak.  The  ford,  at  this  place,  is  said  to  be  the  best  that  can 
be  found  on  the  creek.  The  ground,  for  three  hundred 
yards,    is  low   prairie.     Two   miles   beyond   is   Oak   Creek, 

*  From  a  map  anrl  report  of  a  reconnoissance  made  by  Lieut.  Benson.  Sd  ArtUleiy. 


which  is  six  yards  wide,  and  at  high  water  three  or  four  feet 
deep.  Three  miles  further  south,  is  a  small  run  where  the 
ground  is  boggy  for  a  short  distance.  The  bog  can  be 
turned  above  and  below  the  trail.  The  road  then  passes 
over  pine  and  palmetto  country — with  occasional  ponds,  dry 
at  most  seasons — to  the  Big  Prairie,  from  the  border  of 
which  it  is  about  twelve  miles  to  the  Tsalopopkaha tehee  or 
IVoui  Ealing  Creek.  In  the  rainy  season,  the  creek  is  five 
yards  wide  and  about  four  feet  deep,  and  easy  to  ford.  In. 
the  very  dry  months  it  contains  no  water.  The  banks  are 
covered  with  live  oak.  From  this  place  the  road  passes 
over  prairie  and  pine  barren  to  the  southern. fork  of  Trout 
Eating  Creek  ;  five  miles  distant.  This  branch  is  generally 
dry.  The  country  along  the  route  is  prairie  for  about  two 
miles  further,  when  a  pine  and  palmetto  region  commences, 
and  extends  to  the  Caloosahatchee  opposite  Fort  Myers. 

From  Bowlegs  Creek  to  Big  Prairie  the  route  is  blazed. 
From  there,  for  seven  miles,  to  the  pine  island,  it  is  staked, 
and  trenches  dug  in  a  direction  'parallel  with  the  course,  at 
intervals  of  three  hundred  yards.  Passing  through  the  west 
end  of  the  pine  island,  the  trees  are  blazed  for  a  distance  of 
two  or  three  hundred  yards.  To  the  point  of  entering  the 
pine  woods  south  of  the  branch  of  Trout  Eating  Creek, 
twelve  miles  beyond,  the  route  is  staked  or  blazed,  accord- 
ing as  it  passes  over  prairie  or  through  the  pines.  The 
whole  road  from  Fort  Meade  may  be  called  a  good  one. 
Three  or  four  creeks  would  require  bridging,  to  render  it 
practicable  at  all  seasons.  There  is  very  little  boggy  coun- 
try to  be  passed  through.  The  distance  by  the  trail  from 
Fort  Meade  to  Fort  Myers  is  about  eighty-five  miles. 


Fort  Myers  is  on  the  south  bank  of  the  Caloosahatchee, 
fifteen  miles  from  its  mouth.  A  wagon  road  leads  from  the 
post  to  Forts  Deynaud  and  Thompson,  passing  over  a  coun- 
try, low  in  some  places,  but  generally  good.  A  better  road 
still  would  be  obtained  by  following  an  Indian  trail  that  runs 
parallel  to  the  wagon  route,  a  mile  or  two  south. 

As  high  up  the  river  as  Fort  Deynaud,  the  Caloosahatchee 
is  navigable  for  vessels  of  considerable  size ;  the  depth  of  the 
channel  being,  in  few  places,  as  little  as  twelve  feet.  Four 
miles  above  Fort  Myers,  the  river  narrows  to  less  than  one 
half  its  former  width,  and  a  string  of  small  islands  commen- 
ces, extending  for  two  miles  higher  up.  Just  below  the 
islands  there  is  an  extensive  sand  bar,  upon  which  the  water 
is  quite  shallow.  The  bar  may  be  avoided  by  skirting  the 
northern  bank.  The  deepest  part  of  the  channel  lies  on  this 
side  of  the  river,  and,  in  passing  the  islands,  it  is  a  good  rule 
to  keep  them  all  to  the  south.  For  five  miles  above  the 
islands,  the  banks  on  both  sides  are  very  low  and  lined  with 
a  thick  grove  of  mangroves,  and,  on  the  north  side,  some 
cabbage  palmettos.  The  nature  of  the  country  then  suddenly 
changes,  and,  for  the  remainder  of  the  distance  to  Fort  Dey- 
naud, the  river  flows  between  steep  banks  from  five  to  tea 
feet  in  height,  covered  with  cabbage  palmettos,  cypress,  live 
oak,   and  pine,  with  a  very  rank  growth  of  saw  palmettos. 

*  The  information  in  regard  to  the  Caloosahatchee  River,  and  the  portion  of  the  route 
between  this  river  and  the  mouth  of  Fish  Eating  Creek,  is  taken  from  the  reports  of  Lieuts. 
Hartsuff,  Vincent,  and  Weed,  2d  Artillery — that  in  regard  to  Lake  Okeechobee,  from  the 
reports  and  maps  of  Lieut.  Gunnison,  Topographical  Engineers,  and  Capt.  Allen  and  Lieut. 
Benson,  Second  Artillery.  The  description  of  the  country  east  of  Lake  Okeechobee,  is 
from  a  report  by  Lieut.  Haines,  2d  Artillery. 


Eighteen  miles  above  Fort  Myers,  on  the  north  side,  is  a 
point  where  a  landing  may  be  effected.  The  place  furnishes 
a  good  camp  ground.  The  water  loses  its  brackish  taste,  and 
the  current  is  more  rapid  than  it  is  below.  Between  the 
islands  and  Fort  Deynaud,  the  river  is  exceedingly  crooked, 
and,  at  some  points,  wliere  the  direction  suddenly  changes 
bars  have  been  formed  at  the  elbows.  The  channel,  however, 
can  be  readily  distinguished. 

Many  snags  and  other  obstructions  have  been  already  re 
moved,  and  an  expenditure  of  a  moderate  amount  of  labor 
would  make  the  river  easily  navigable,  for  vessels  of  any 
required  size,  from  the  mouth  to  Fort  Deynaud. 

From  Fort  Deynaud  there  is  a  good  wagon  road,  which 
continues  along  the  north  side  of  the  river  till  opposite  Fort 
Thompson,  where  it  turns  off  in  a  north-easterly  direction 
over  prairie — generally  wet — towards  Fish  Eating  Creek, 
The  road,  after  leaving  the  river,  crosses  two  or  three  small 
branches,  whose  banks  are  fringed  with  cabbage  palmettos, 
brush,  and  a  few  scattering  live  oaks.  The  last  pine  is  about 
eight  miles  from  Fort  Thompson,  on  the  banks  and  near  the 
head  of  the  most  northerly  branch  of  the  Caloosahatchee. 
Between  this  river  and  Fish  Eating  Creek,  the  larger  portion 
of  the  prairie  is  at  times  submerged,  and  the  ground  almost 
always  saturated  with  water.  A  single  day's  rain  will  cause 
a  sensible  rise  in  the  branches,  and  in  those  places  that  are 
rather  lower  than  the  general  level.  Some  distance  before 
arriving  at  Fish  Eating  Creek,  its  course  can  be  traced  b}'- 
cypress  swamps,  and  a  peculiar  growth  of  brush  and  small 
timber.  From  the  point  of  the  river  first  seen  from  the  road, 
to  where  the  latter  intersects  it — three-quarters  of  a  mile 
below — the  south  bank  is  fringed  with  scattering  live  oaks 
and  a  few  cypress.  The  road  strikes  the  river  at  the  only 
point  where  it  can  be  approached,  and  here,  during  the  wet 
season,  the  ground  would  be  very  boggy  for  a  quarter  of  a 
mile  back  from  the  banks.  The  stream  at  the  crossing  is, 
during  low  water,  twenty  yards  wide  and  a  foot  deep ;  the 


bottom  is  composed  of  shifting  sand,  which  forms  bars 
changing  at  every  considerable  rise.  The  channel  is  much 
obstructed  by  old  trees.  The  river  from  this  point  makes  a 
bend  towards  the  north,  and  the  road  keeps  on  the  south  side 
of  it,  two  or  three  miles  from  its  banks,  to  avoid  boggy 
ground,  till  it  again  strikes  it  near  Fort  Center^  six  or  seven 
miles  below,  where  further  progress,  on  land,  is  barred  by  an 
impassable  swamp. 

The  site  of  Fort  Center  is  immediately  upon  the  bank  of 
the  creek,  upon  an  elevated  plateau  eight  feet  in  height,  and 
extending  more  than  a  hundred  yards  back  to  a  mound 
thirty  feet  high,  and  about  a  hundred  and  twenty-five  feet  in 
diameter  at  the  base ;  covered  with  a  dense  growth  of  saw 
palmetto.  To  the  west  is  a  slight  depression  for  a  hundred 
yards,  and  then  higher  ground  extending  two  hundred 
yards  further.  The  nearest  pine  in  sufficient  quantity  for 
building  is  twelve  miles  distant,  and  there  are  no  accessible 
palmettos  within  two  miles,  excepting  a  very  few  that  are 
scattered  here  and  there  on  and  about  the  mound.  The 
country  at  Fort  Center  is  much  higher  and  is  better  suited 
for  a  post  than  any  other  point  near  the  western  shore  of 
Lake  Okeechobee,  but  it  is  a  sickly  position  and  difficult  of 
approach  during  the  wet  season. 

Between  the  Fort  and  the  mouth  of  the  river,  there  are  no 
obstructions  excepting  occasional  floating  masses  of  water 
lily,  which  can  be  forced  aside  with  an  oar.  The  stream  is 
very  crooked ;  from  fifteen  to  thirty-five  yards  wide,  and  in 
most  places  more  than  nine  feet  deep  at  low  water ;  nowhere 
less  than  about  four  feet  deep.  The  banks  are  sloping  and 
composed  of  dark  spongy  loam.  They  are  seldom  well  de- 
fined, and  never  rise  more  than  two  feet  above  low  water. 
Excepting  at  Fort  Center,  where  the  south  bank  is  fringed 
with  live  oak,  not  a  tree  of  any  size  grows  upon  either  bank 
for  some  miles  from  the  mouth.  Below  the  point  where  the 
road  from  Fort  Thompson  crosses  the  river,  there  is  no  place 

'88  aOinSTWMi  FUKriyMSTD  FOBT  JLPlfHL 

'vhere  it  eas  be  appraaehed  on  faoi3EJnek,  exceptiBg  on  1^ 
soudMni  adc,  at  Fort  Craiter.  At  high  trater,  nearfj  the  en- 
tire coastry.  for  mOes  on  eitber  ade,  is  eompleteiT  sabmexged. 

A<3tJS5  tiie  month  of  the  lirer  is  a  oom|Mcl  ^saoMi  bar.  orcr 
'wbxii  boats  dravingbetweoi  three  and  f^ar  59et  can  ctobe, 
at  ibe  lowest  stages  <rf  tiie  water,  to  Le^e  Ok 

I/ihe  fjHaseaiititee  preset^  a  superik^s cf  Tie_  -  fatzn- 
dred  aqiuaie  milea.  Its  average  depth  at  krr  water  b  aboot 
twelve  feet.  The  sorroondiBg  ooraitrr  is  bat  Ettle  above  its 
ear£ioe,  and  is  moetlv  sabmerged  during  the  wel  se^»on, 
▼hen  the  wats"  in  the  lake  rises,  sranetimes,  three  feet  above 
&e  ordinarr  level  Frcmi  near  the  month  of  Ffeh  Eath^ 
C^'eek.  anrand  north  as  hat  as  Oohancy  Bay,  the  lake  is  hat- 
d««d  b  V  a  bar  of  while  sand :  at  low  water,  from,  ten  to 
thirty  feet  wide,  and  from  one  to  fimr  feet  in  ho^it.  Baek 
of  dis  b  a  hammock,  aboot  a  hundred  yards  acros.  ai^ 
behind  this,  a  swamp  Tarying  in  width  from  five  Imndred 
yards  to  two  or  three  nm^.  From  Cohajicy  Bay  to  Cypreas 
Point,  die  bar  and  hammock  eontimie  the  same,  bat  the 
swamp  B  repiaoe»i  by  sawgrass  marsh,  a  narrow  tongne  from 
the  Eveigiadis  ranniEg  as  tar  nrath  as  this  plaoe.*  Fjom 
Cyprras  Point  aroond  towards  the  sooth  and  sonth-west 
the  shore  is  much  les  dearly  defined-  The  Everglades  foroi 
4ie  general  boondaiy,  but  no  disdnct  line  marks  the  division 
between  thk  region  and  the  snr^ce  of  the  lake :  thesooihem 
portion  of  Ae  latter  being  much  grown  np  with  grass.  Two 
or  three  pointe  of  the  sonth  and  west  shores  have  high 
sandv  beaches  iar  a  mile  or  two.  There  are  several  ontlets 
near  the  sonthem  eajd :  some  of  these  at  the  month  are  fcwrty 
or  fiftv  vards  wide  and  several  feet  deep,  bat  are  nav^ai^ 
fijr  only  a  few  hnndred  yards,  on  aoconnt  of  the  tangled 
weeds.  At  the  extreme  soathem  point  there  is  one  eighty 
varda  in  width  and  liavis^le  for  half  a  mile. 


The  Kissimmee  River  is  the  largest  and  most  important  of 
the  streams  that  have  their  outlet  in  Lake  Okeechobee.  It 
receives  the  drainage  of  a  considerable  extent  of  country, 
and  establishes  a  communication,  for  vessels  of  small  size,  be- 
tween the  lake  and  the  region  for  a  hundred  miles  north  of 
it.  It  empties  into  a  little  bay  at  the  northern  extremity  of 
the  lake.  The  sand  bar  at  the  entrance  to  this  bay  can  be 
crossed  at  low  water  by  vessels  of  six  feet  draught.* 

A  growth  of  cypress,  more  or  less  dense,  extends  almost 
entirely  around  the  lake,  along  or  near  its  shore.  There  are 
also  occasional  ash  and  palmetto  trees ;  the  latter  being  more 
numerous  in  the  neighborhood  of  Fort  McRae  than  at  any 
other  point.  At  this  place  also  the  beach  is  higher  and 
wider  than  elsewhere;  a  portion  of  it  not  being  subject  to 
overflow  during  high  stages  of  the  water. 

The  lake  may  be  traversed  with  canoes  when  the  surface 
is  smooth.  In  passing  from  Fort  Center  to  the  eastern 
shore — the  distance  across,  which  is  more  than  forty-two 
miles,  being  too  great  for  a  single  day's  row — two  courses 
may  be  taken ;  one  towards  the  northern  edge,  where  places 
to  camp  upon  can  be  found  along  the  beach,  and  the  other 
towards  Observation  Island^  which  is  fourteen  miles  southeast 
from  the  mouth  of  Fish  Eating  Creek.  This  island  is  high 
and  covered  with  large  trees.  The  ground  is  dry,  and  the 
place  a  good  one  for  a  camp. 

The  only  continuous  route  between  the  eastern  shore  of 

•  This  river  and  the  lakes  near  its  head  have  been  explored  and  reported  upon  by  Lieut. 
Benson,  Second  Anillery.  From  the  mouth  to  Lake  Kissimmee,  the  channel  is  exceedingly 
tortuoue.  At  ordinary  stages  of  the  water  the  width  of  the  stream  varies  from  nine  to  fifty 
yards;  the  depth  from  four  to  sixteen  feet,  and  the  current  from  half  a  mile  to  three  miles 
per  hoar.  The  banks  are  generally  from  three  to  five  feet  high,  fringed  with  live  oak,  maple, 
cabbage,  palmetto,  and  elder  ;  and  the  country,  a  few  yards  back,  low  and  boggy.  The  only 
eligible  sites  for  posts  are  the  locations  of  Forts  Kis.simmee  and  Basinger,  and  a  point  on  the 
•west  bank,  a  few  miles  below  the  latter  place.  Boats  to  be  employed  on  this  river  should 
not  be  more  than  sixty  or  seventy  feet  long,  nor  of  greater  draught  than  three  or  four  feet. 
The  only  pine  wood  that  can  be  obtained  is  in  the  neighborhood  of  Fort  Basinger.  Lakes 
Kissimmee  and  Cypress  and  the  strait  connecting  them  are  navigable  in  all  places  for  vessels 
of  four  feet  draught. 


Lake  Okeecliobee  and  Fort  Jupiter,  that  has  been  traversed 
and  reported  upon,  leads  nearly  west  from  Fort  McRae  to 
Oeneral  Eustis'  Boad,  and  along  that  road  to  the  Fort.  The 
trail  passes  over  the  hammock  that  borders  the  beach ;  here 
a  hundred  yards  wide.  This  hammock  can  be  passed  on 
foot  by  wading  from  one  cypress  root  to  another,  and 
making  use  of  the  dead  branches  of  trees.  The  marsh  be- 
yond is  about  a  mile  and  a-half  wide,  having  the  same 
character  as  the  Everglades ;  the  sawgrass  being  six  feet  in 
height ;  the  water  of  variable  depth,  and  the  mud  so  soft 
that  a  pole  can  be  thrust  down  with  the  hand  to  a  depth  of 
from  six  to  ten  feet.  This  marsh  can  be  crossed  only  at  dry 
seasons,  and  then  with  great  difficulty,  by  men  on  foot, 
though  unincumbered  by  arms  or  burdens  of  any  descrip- 
tion. East  of  the  marsh,  the  route,  for  five  miles,  passes 
over  a  low  pine  country,  with  occasional  ponds  and  marshes 
that  can  be  easily  turned.  It  then  crosses  another  difficult 
marsh,  a  quarter  of  a  mile  wide.  From  surveys  that  have 
been  made  in  the  vicinity  it  appears  that  this  marsh  might 
be  avoided  by  keeping  a  mile  or  two  to  the  north.  A  high 
pine  and  palmetto  region  then  commences ;  continuing  as 
far  as  the  point  where  the  trail  from  the  lake  intersects 
General  Eustis^  route.  This  route  traverses  a  low  and  some- 
what marshy  country,  but  a  road  practicable  for  wagons, 
during  a  greater  portion  if  not  all  of  the  year,  could  be 
easily  constructed  upon  it. 

The  old  bridge  at  the  crossing  of  the  Locha  Hatchee  being 
now  impracticable,  it  is  necessary  to  ford  the  stream  at 
a  place  half  a  mile  above.  The  crossing  is  bad ;  the  bottom 
being  muddy  and  banks  boggy.  The  depth  of  water  is  be- 
tween three  and  four  feet.  A  bridge  thirty  yards  in  length, 
with  a  causeway  of  a  hundred  yards  at  each  end,  would  be 
required  to  make  the  road  a  good  one. 

The  present  site  of  Fort  Jupiter  being  to  the  east  of  Jones' 
Greek,  the  new  road  leaves  the  old  trail  to  the  left  and 
crosses  the  creek  at  a  point  three  miles  south  of  Fort  Jupiter. 


The  crossing  is  easy,  and  the  remainder  of  the  distance  over 
a  good  country. 

Should  it  be  considered  desirable  at  any  time  to  establish 
a  line  of  communication  across  this  portion  of  the  State,  the 
route  just  discussed  possesses,  in  many  respects,  important 
advantages.  The  travelling  distance  by  it,  from  coast  to 
coast,  is  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  miles,  and  of  this  dis- 
tance nearly  one  hundred  miles  can  be  traversed  by  vessels 
of  considerable  size,  at  all  seasons.  A  tolerable  wagon  road, 
that  would  be  practicable,  for  the  transportation  of  troops 
and  supplies,  during  the  greater  part  if  not  the  whole  of  the 
year,  could  be  made  without  difficulty,  over  all  but  a  mile  or 
two  of  the  remaining  distance.  The  sawgrass  marsh  along 
the  eastern  shore  of  Lake  Okeechobee  interposes,  for  a  mile 
and  a-half,  an  obstacle  that  it  would  require  a  vast  deal  of 
time,  labor,  and  expense  to  surmount.  During  the  establish- 
ment of  the  block-house  at  Fort  McRae,  this  marsh  was  ex- 
amined as  far  north  as  Cohancy  Bay,  and  found  to  be  im- 
practicable below  that  point.  The  maps  of  the  Land  Office 
indicate  that  farther  north  the  difficulties  would  not  be  so 
great,  and  the  Surveyor-General  of  Florida  has  furnished 
information  in  regard  to  the  strip  of  country  in  question, 
that  would  seem  to  show  that  a  wagon  road  might  be  made 
to  cross  at  certain  points  with  a  comparatively  small  amount 
of  trouble.  An  assistant  to  the  Surveyor-General,  Mr. 
Reyes,  has  explored  in  this  vicinity,  and  reports  that  there 
would  be  no  difficulty  in  getting  a  road  to  the  lake  at  either 
of  three  points ;  at  Cohancy  Bay,  or  at  places  seven  miles 
and  twelve  miles  respectively  farther  north.  For  eighteen 
miles  along  the  shore,  the  beach  is  firm  sand,  being  similar 
to  the  Atlantic  opposite  St.  Augustine.  Cohancy  Bay  has 
plenty  of  water,  and  is  a  good  shelter  for  boats  or  vessels  in 
any  storm.  Mr.  Reyes  is  of  opinion  that  it  would  require 
much  less  labor  to  make  a  causeway  here  than  was  expended 
opposite  to  Fort  Kissimmee,  by  General  Twiggs'  command, 
in  1840,  in  making  a  crossing  there.  The  causeway  at  Fort 


Kissimmec  is,  for  about  nine  hundred  yards,  through  soft 
marsh.  At  this  place  he  thinks  that  the  marsh  would  be 
less  than  five  hundred  yards  across,  and  some  of  it  firm. 

It  has  been  strongly  recommended  by  officers  who  have 
served  in  this  part  of  Florida,  that  a  small  steamer  should  be 
employed  upon  Lake  Okeechobee,  in  case  operations  are  to 
be  conducted  in  its  neighborhood.  The  parts  of  such  a 
vessel  might  be  readily  transported  up  the  Caloosahatchee 
and  across  the  country  to  Fort  Center,  where  they  could  be 
put  together  and  launched. 

The  necessity  of  suspending  movements  upon  the  lake 
during  rough  weather;  its  exposure  to  sudden  storms,  and 
the  few  places  of  shelter  afforded,  render  canoes  and  small 
boats  somewhat  inefficient.  At  all  times  they  are  necessa- 
rily slow,  and  their  use  attended  with  much  labor  and 
fatigue.  It  is  evident,  from  the  numerous  traces  of  Indian 
camps  and  vestiges  of  canoes  found  along  the  shores  of  the 
lake  and  upon  the  banks  of  the  Kissimmee  river,  that  this 
route  is  a  favorite  one  with  the  Seminoles  in  passing  from 
their  haunts  in  the  Big  Cypress  and  the  Everglades  to  the 
regions  north  of  the  Okeechobee.  A  vessel  that  could  com- 
mand this  extensive  sheet  of  water  would  interfere  with, 
these  movements  of  the  Indians,  and  considerably  narrow 
their  field  of  operations.